Mastercard still #1 audio brand as industry investment in sonic strategy grows

Amp’s third annual index of the Best Audio Brands (BAB) sees Mastercard retain the #1 spot, with the index again showing the importance of investing in sonic strategy across brand touchpoints.

Companies investing in audio branding and bespoke music assets such as sonic logos gained ground this year, creating what Amp calls an ‘audio advantage’ gap that helps them cut through the noise.

Mastercard was named in the #1 spot due to its use of a unique holistic and DNA-based sonic identity, which consistently expanded the use of sound across global platforms.

The key criteria by which the BAB measures audio investment performance for brands are: customer recognition, customer trust, customer experience, customer engagement and customer belonging.

Five new brands jump into the top ten, with Audi, Hyundai, Mercedes, Netflix and Siemens recognised for their use of sonic branding. Meanwhile, the highest climbing sector was beverages with automotive not far behind.

The highest climbing brands were in finance, with American Express, HSBC and J.P. Morgan increasing their standing due to growing investment in customised audio.

Colgate, Goldman Sachs, and Danone dropped furthest on the list, as a result of increased reliance on stock music across digital channels.

Other brands including Google (dropping 16 places) and Amazon (down 12 places) also fell due to increased usage of stock music.

Amp global CEO, Michele Arnese, said: “Making a brand heard is more important than ever before. The past 18 months have accelerated the importance of sound and voice as vital elements of the brand identity and customer experience toolbox.

“Meaningful and purposeful brand communication takes advantage from a ownable and authentic sound ecosystem. With strong growth in app-based and contactless digital interactions and streamed audible content, marketers have shifted spending to boost digital storytelling that can be heard (and recognised). 

“We’d like to congratulate this year’s leaders and highlight the opportunity for brands that are yet to truly invest in finding their voice. 

Since BAB’s inception, 12 brands on the BAB ranking have invested in personalised audio assets, a figure expected to grow in the near future.

Amp head of strategy and research, Björn Thorleifsson, added: “This year has shown that those who were already embarking on their sonic branding journeys have increased their lead on trailing rivals – now clearly falling behind.

“Given the evolving ability of sound to reach consumers whatever the device or channel they’re on, we expect to see increased investment from brands looking to stand out amongst the online noise.

“There are already best practice examples from leaders, such as Mastercard, and we’d encourage those who want to improve brand recognition and even performance, to adopt a little less conversation on sonic branding, and a little more action.”

The Best Audio Brands ranking system was introduced in 2019, building on Interbrand’s highly respected ‘Best Global Brands Index’. Starting with 2021, Amp set new criteria for the BAB brand list, focusing more on the use of sound and thus including brands beyond the Interbrand’s index.


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